North Dakota: #4 Best State to Retire in 2018

North Dakota ranked a surprising fourth in the nation on our list of best states for retirees, based on health- and finance-related factors.

If the decision on where to retire came down to climate alone, we'd all live in Florida or Arizona. But there's more to retirement than sunshine and warm temperatures. Top of the list: Finding a place that fits your budget. We ranked all 50 states for retirement based on several financial factors, figuring that the best states for retirees will offer reasonable living costs and light tax burdens, as well as affordable health care options. We also favored states that are economically healthy and home to fit, active and relatively prosperous residents age 65 and over. After crunching all of the numbers, North Dakota ranked fourth on our list of the best states for retirement. Yes, we were surprised too. See for yourself why the Peace Garden State might appeal to the right retirees.

North Dakota: #4 Best State for Retirement

Population: 736,162

Share of population 65+: 14.2% (U.S.: 14.5%)

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Cost of living: 1% above U.S. average

Average income for 65+ households: $46,763 (U.S.: $53,799)

Average health care costs for a retired couple: Below average at $414,455 (U.S.: $423,523)

Tax rating for retirees: Tax Friendly

Cross the border from South Dakota, our #1 state for retirement, and you'll find many of the same benefits: North Dakota offers retirees affordable living costs and overall low taxes. Unfortunately, retirement income, including Social Security benefits, gets no tax break in the Peace Garden State. But income taxes are so low—ranging from 1.1% to 2.9%—that it's still considered tax friendly. Plus, the state ranks second-highest for fiscal soundness, indicating that the economic health is stable enough to sustain a friendly tax environment.

Learn more about how we ranked all 50 states for retirement including our methodology and data sources.

Stacy Rapacon
Online Editor,

Rapacon joined Kiplinger in October 2007 as a reporter with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and became an online editor for in June 2010. She previously served as editor of the "Starting Out" column, focusing on personal finance advice for people in their twenties and thirties.

Before joining Kiplinger, Rapacon worked as a senior research associate at b2b publishing house Judy Diamond Associates. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the George Washington University.